Saturday, 7 August 2010


Well, ain't that a creative title for a sick Saturday morning. Watch film. Take name of film as title. Discuss.

But, Todd Haynes fest! First this and then this and now Poison. And we've got Safe coming up! Yay! That'll leave only I'm Not There and I will have all of Haynes' feature narrative work down, and most of it on here. I don't know why that excites me, but it does.

Poison was his debut, and it was pretty successful for a first outing. (Also, incidentally, the debut feature producer credit for uber-indie megastar producer Christine Vachon, who is responsible for bringing us half a dozen or so films on this here blog. Thanks Christine!) Teddy? Check. Sundance Grand Jury Prize? Check. Those are a couple of not insignificant awards right there.

Me? I think I need to watch it again. I think there are levels in the film that I wasn't expecting, took me completely by surprise and I wasn't really up for. It's really three different stories. In one of them a young boy kills his father before quite literally flying away. In another a scientist develops the elixir of human sexuality and, after consuming it, turns into a monster. The third is a queer prison story (which just sounds like porn, but isn't) about one inmate who is attracted to another whom he recognises from their previous time together in a juvenile facility. The stories are titled Hero, Horror and Homo respectively.

It is definitely an interesting film. Each of the films is told in a different style - the first is a doco, the second like old school horror films, almost like a creature feature in parts, and the third kind of straight up. The general vibe absolutely fits with the New Queer Cinema that Sundance was a heavy proponent of back in the early nineties (see here) with it's non-traditional style of telling an otherwise fairly traditional story. Or stories, as is the case.

Shot primarily in black and white, everything technically and performatively fits in the film. Performances are hammy or naturalistic or dramatic as required, the camera moves how you would expect it to in each given format, the cinematography matches the shifts. It all felt a little disjointed to me, however. The consistent themes didn't flow through, the mood and feel didn't pass on segment to segment. This is why I think I need to watch it again. I think I was so thrown by the fact that it was so different to Far From Heaven or Velvet Goldmine in its narrative structure.

So, in the meantime, until a revisit manages to occur, we're talking 2.5 stars.

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